While earning my undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon, I only had the opportunity to take one jazz class during my time there and have since felt timid about teaching jazz effectively. I have had to rely heavily on my own high school jazz experience. I was fortunate to have been a part of a good program that performed quality literature, but I needed additional resources. Also, that was 10 years ago!!
This is the reason for this project. After being hired at a 5‐12 band program this past year, I quickly needed to learn how to effectively teach jazz to younger students. It ended up being trial by fire, and I asked a lot of questions from colleagues. I had many questions – what literature do I play with a band of 13 students of varying instrumentation? How do I make young students like Swing as much as Rock? How do I make young students Swing?
My goal for this project was NOT to create a method book – those have already been done and have been done well. It was my goal to fill in the missing pieces – you have the jazz band – now what? This is a resource for young directors that know very little about jazz band style and articulation. Included are specific warm-ups and rhythm exercises to be used with the band.
After researching this topic I know this next year will go much more smoothly for the middle school jazz band.